Trent Richardson: Fantasy Owners Must Bench Cleveland Browns RB

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IOctober 25, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 14: Running back Trent Richardson #33 of the Cleveland Browns runs for a gain against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson has not met expectations this season after the team selected him with the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, and fantasy owners must bench him until he proves that he can be a reliable player for your team.

Richardson has rushed for just 348 yards with four touchdowns through seven games this season, and has caught 24 passes for 197 yards and one touchdown.

This is not the kind of production people expected from a player that many thought would be a Rookie of the Year candidate.

Richardson, who has also struggled with injuries this year, carried the ball eight times for eight yards in the Browns' 17-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7.

He has averaged just 40 yards per game over the last five weeks and hasn't scored a touchdown of any kind since Week 5.

The Browns have the third-worst running game in the NFL, and there's little reason to believe it will improve much as the season progresses.

Cleveland is 1-6 right now and has a tough schedule going forward. The Browns have to play the Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers (twice) over the next nine weeks.

Several of those teams have strong defenses, and all of them will be fighting for a playoff spot the rest of the way.

Starting Richardson on your fantasy team is just way too risky right now, especially if you have started your fantasy season poorly and/or have a lot of depth at running back.

If you play in a keeper league, it's a little too early to consider trading Richardson. However, if you don't play in one of these leagues, looking to move the Browns running back would be a smart idea.

Until Richardson has a few good games in a row, he's not worth a start on your fantasy team.